Can you use a SWM-16 with a SWM Expander?

Here’s a question that I bet the wizards at AT&T never thought anyone would ask. So of course, I asked it. Let’s start at the beginning.

The SWM-16

DIRECTV debuted the SWM-16 about a decade ago. It was the first real, serious single-wire multiswitch. The original SWM, believe it or not, supported only 5 tuners. The first one to make it to wide release supported 8 tuners, but it was very quickly replaced by an LNB that supported 8 tuners. That made the SWM-8 almost instantly obsolete.

The SWM-16 was used widely in business for about 8 years, and is still used today by people who need to support older receivers. There’s still a limited amount of them out in the market, and you’ll find the best selection when you shop at Solid Signal.

The SWM expander


The SWM Expander was rolled out about two years ago. It holds four SWM-30 multiswitches securely and makes it possible to support 108 tuners in a small space with only two power supplies. It also allows you to swap out one switch easily if it fails.

Today, the SWM Expander is used along with the SWM-30 for newer installations.

Combining the two

So, since I had both of them, I decided to try it.

Just looking at this photo, you would think that it worked. But, the truth is, it didn’t work at all.

The SWM didn’t fit

With apologies to Johnny Cochrane, the SWM didn’t fit so I must acquit. After taking off the weather boots, I found that the SWM fit in the holes ok, but didn’t go down far enough to make a good connection with the expander. So really that’s probably the end of that.

You’ll also notice that the clamps on the side won’t actually hold the SWM in at all. Turning the SWM around 180 degrees didn’t work at all, since it wouldn’t actually fit in the space.

Power would be a problem anyway

The SWM-30 is a lot more energy efficient than the SWM-16. The SWM-16 has a tendency to run kind of hot and use a lot of power. On the other hand, the SWM-30 is so efficient that you can power two of them with one power inserter if the power inserter is close to the SWMs. So, I don’t think that this would work because there simply wouldn’t work the way that it should and you’d end up needing four power inserters.

So what’s the right way to do it?

In the past, there were a number of parts that would allow you to connect two or more multiswitches. However, these parts were never 100% DIRECTV approved. The only way to properly connect more than one multiswitch in the same location is to use these splitters. Connecting multiswitches is easy and here’s a diagram I did back about six years ago that shows it.


You’ll find everything you need, and of course thousands of other parts for the DIRECTV system you need, when you shop the great selection at Solid Signal. Need more support? Call us at 888-233-7563.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.